New Competitor

It’s hard to have a market with only one player. Though web spam is a huge problem touching countless millions of people, there are still only a few ways to stem the tide. Outside of Akismet, almost all solutions thus far have been user-hostile, like CAPTCHA, not adaptive, like all the one-off solutions people do, or falsely assume that web spam is anything like email spam. (There was briefly an Akismet clone called Linksieve, but I can’t find it on the web anymore.)

Today we would like to welcome a new entrant to our nascent market, Defensio. They have a similar approach to us, with a centralized API that gives a thumbs up or down for a comment, and some added information indicating “spamminess.” Best of luck, guys!

(And for those wondering, Akismet only returns “yes” or “no” to avoid giving spammers any additional information. However the interface for managing spam could definitely be better.)

50 responses on “New Competitor

  1. I will stick with Akismet, but if you presented this new competitor in such nice colors, I will give it a spin. A small one.

  2. No doubt you guys have done a great job and I bet that Defensio will have some tough time in fighting against you but I still wish them good luck. I’ve shifted to defensio for the time being as a testing service.

    It’s good to see that you people are promoting them even though they are your competitor. It shows that you’ve got enough confidence on your plugin and so should you..as you’ve done great job in past and still doing it :)

  3. A very obvious and useful option Defensio has. Something i’ve been waiting for Akismet to do for ages! “Very obvious spam can be hidden from view”. Please guys, polish the interface.

  4. After first tried for some hours. Defensio give me 2 fail positive that will never capture by Akismet. Plus it give me 405 error when comment. Then, I prefer to get back to my lovely Akismet. Some CAPTCHA is good, e.g. simple match but with those two words is really ugly in design. It tend to discourage visit to comment. Most of time when I see two word CAPTCHA, I most likely not to leave a comment.

  5. Matt,

    Thanks for the kind words! The (small) Defensio team really appreciates it.

    We are definitely looking forward to, along with Akismet, make the web as clean of spam as we possibly can.

    Our take on spam is that it is not going away anytime soon. Therefore, our goal is to make it easier for our users to handle the problem with our enhanced UI and spaminess ranking.

    That said, we took great care of designing our algorithm in a way that spammers can’t benefit from the spaminess ranking we return.

  6. I’ve been using Defensio for a couple months now and it’s definitely an improvement over Akismet’s one-size-fits-all approach to prioritizing spam.

    I’d really like to see support in Akismet for OpenID whitelisting and the like; once authentication becomes more the norm (and less user-hostile, which OpenID arguably is at the moment) I think spam will be further reduced.

  7. Smoke em’ Akismet.

    This is great news as new entrants bring with them new ideas and further the industry. Keep on your toes Akismet, looking forward to some hot new chit very soon… ;)

  8. Dirk, Linksleeve! Sorry I couldn’t remember the name. That’s what I was trying to refer to in the post, I didn’t think they were still around.

    Chris, Akismet is authentication-independent, whitelisting OpenID-left comments would arguably kill the movement as it would give spammers an extremely strong incentive to do everything via OpenID, which would give it a bad name. (Much like Trackback has.)

    Auth or registration even with CAPTCHA has shown to be zero barrier to spammers, see Myspace for example, so content-based checking still needs to be the basis for the foreseeable future. Regardless, anything like that should probably be done on the plugin level, not the API level.

  9. Well competition is a good thing – but I don’t really see them as competition – you’re both working towards a common goal of beating the scurge of spam and that can only be a good thing!

  10. There’s another way to look at this. Having another antispam tool for WordPress only strengthens WordPress’s attractiveness as a blogging platform. It mitigates some risk to blog authors that their favourite antispam tool could one day cease to function (albeit it’s a small risk). And because Akismet was here first and does an outstand job there’s very little reason to be think it’s in any way being threatened. Overall this is good news for everyone – the internet is still growing.

  11. It’s actually good news. This would benefit bloggers and site owners more. But for the time being, I’d stick with Akismet. All my sites/blogs are using Akismet. Such cool thing, this. :)

  12. Put one good recomendation and many users will try. But, once they get stuck with that new one, they will get the Akismet again.

  13. What interests me about Defensio isn’t the ‘spaminess’ level (although no doubt others will have use for that), but the far superior organisation of the reporting screen. Akismet just gives me an unorganised list – which if you get as much comment spam as I sometimes do, is far too difficult to search for false positives. I’ll wait a couple of weeks to say what people have to say about Defensio in actual real world use (who knows, their servers might disintegrate or something) before I consider switching though.

  14. One thing I liked about Defensio was that it that “spaminess” and it was color coded. I think this is a great feature for Akismet to have. I tried out Defensio for a few days and actually worked pretty well.

  15. I installed Akismet last Friday on my WP blog and this morning I took great pleasure at looking at the 166 spam comments you (accurately) caught for me in the background. Thanks guys – what a relief.

  16. Genuine bloggers can help. I ran a ‘how to stop spam’ session with my students this week. Overwhelming support for more direct action weapons against offensive spammers. Any products coming up on this?
    Best wishes

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